Bijin-ga is a painting that depicts a beautiful woman’s appearance and movements, and deals with what is known as female beauty. The term “Bijin-ga” originated in Japan, although there are many works featuring women in all ages and cultures. It can be said that this work symbolically deals with “Japanese women’s beauty” from.

Moronobu Hishikawa
63.0 x 31.2
17 century
Tokyo National Museum

After the end of the Edo period, the history of beauty painting began with Hishikawa Moronobu, a master of “Ukiyo-e”, and even after the end of the Edo period, it was entrusted to Takehisa Muji, Uemura Shoen, and others, and while it was intensively criticized by critics because of its origins in “Ukiyo-e”, which was considered to be a low-class art form for the common people, the popularity of beauty painting reached its peak around 1923.

Although it lacked the momentum it enjoyed at the time, it was a major genre of Japanese painting and a formidable part of Japanese culture.
However, although the sound of such a traditionally cultured beauty painting may seem somewhat old-fashioned, there are still people who create beauty paintings even now that the prostitutes, courtesans and teahouse girls who were models for paintings in the past have disappeared.

Akihiro Mitsumoto

Mitsuhiro Mitsumoto Akihiro is one of them.

Although his medium is not Japanese mineral pigments, but oil and platinum foil, the women in his paintings are probably the same as in his paintings of beautiful women.

余白の創造 … 君と玲瓏
116.7 x 58.3 cm

He says, “I want to make the most of the blank spaces and express not only the people but also the space in which they exist.

What is also noteworthy is the background. I worked as an architect, with tiles and concrete walls where women sat directly on them. A glimpse of the background.

112 x 162 cm

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Beniko Choji

If the gender of the artist changes, the perspective on women’s beauty also changes greatly. The encounter with Beniko Choji’s work made me think of this.

91 x 65.2 cm

She depicts an expressionless woman in her paintings. She expresses the woman, her clothes, and one or so other motifs by limiting the colors to the maximum extent possible, in order to give the viewer a sense of It is said that the reason for this is to create a space for emotions to enter the painting and to encourage speculation. In addition, the beauty that has no background and invites the viewer’s gaze is one of the elements of the “decadent beauty” seen in paintings of beauties from the end of the Edo period. is felt.

The use of red and black, where sex and violence are often represented, and the portrayal of women in toxic make-up and dress At first glance, the work can be taken as a tense piece of art from the first glance. However, if you take the time to look at the facial expressions of the painted women, you can feel a very gentle temperature from the painting, which makes you feel tense You will notice the gradual relaxation of the We will never get tired of looking at Choko’s paintings of beautiful women, which change their expressions and sway the emotions of viewers every time we look at them.

39 x 28 cm

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Masahiko Konno

The artists introduced so far are traditional artists whose work is relatively based on the context of the past. However, there are also artists who inject the modern essence of “Japanese women’s beauty” that beauty paintings have into their work. However, there were also artists who injected the essence of modern beauty into the Japanese women’s pictures of beauty. There are a lot of them. Among them, Masahiko Konno has an extremely modern sensibility.

33.3 x 45.5 cm

In the Edo period, the resemblance to the model of a beautiful woman was not important, and it was not important to determine which “Ukiyo-e” artist’s “model” the beauty was. The emphasis was placed on the way in which women were represented in the world. Later, as the times progressed, the pursuit of reality was pursued and the female figure gradually became more and more in line with reality. I got closer.

Konno further updated her stylized paintings of beautiful women, like a photo uploaded to a social network It is depicted in Is this a result of capturing “Japanese female beauty” from a modern perspective, or is it a coincidence? Regardless, the fresh women that Konno depicts are “alive”.

45.5 x 33.3 cm

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As symbolized by the popularity of Koseki Ikenaga, there is certainly a sign of the revival of beauty painting. Who will be the artist who weaves the history of beauty painting in the future? It’s good to think about that while you’re at it.


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